Three Symbols in the Great Gatsby

Topics: Working class, Social class, Middle class Pages: 4 (1422 words) Published: October 28, 2008
Nathaniel Woodford

Three Symbols in the Great Gatsby

Fitzgerald wrote “The Great Gatsby” to criticise America from straying from the “American Dream”. Typically the American society tries to follow the American Dream, which is a dream of a society that allows everyone, no matter what economic class they were born into, to be able to accomplish whatever they want with hard work. With this principle no matter their social class Americans should be able to accomplish anything. Fitzgerald thought that the American society wasn’t following the American dream; he successfully used symbols to criticize different aspects of American society, showing the weakness of each deviation from the American Dream. Many symbols were used, but the three most significant symbols were: the “green light”, the godliness of the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg and the sadness of the “Valley of Ashes”. Each symbol played a key role in Fitzgerald’s criticism. How did these symbols play a key role in Fitzgerald’s criticism of the American society that doesn’t follow the American Dream?

The first of the three symbols, the green light, was a powerful tool in which Fitzgerald used to criticise the loss of the American Dream from the American society. The green light was important because it represented the endless “hope” of which the American Dream promises. The hope for a desire should never be lost if the American Dream is followed correctly; Fitzgerald showed that this isn’t always true in the American society by showing that Gatsby’s hope fades away when he realizes because of class distinction he will never be able to marry Daisy. Fitzgerald emphasizes this though Nick Caraway, his narrator, who observes:

-“Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever.” (The Great Gatsby, pg.125)

Fitzgerald used Nick to show as Gatsby begins to realize that Daisy will never leave Tom and go with him, that the green...
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